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Text [& subtext]

The Inaugural Address: the Digested Read

by C. G. ESTABROOK

My fellow citizens:

We are in the midst of crisis. Our nation is at war [against an Axis...oops] against a Network of Violence and Hatred.

America’s decline can be arrested, [just so long as we can scare hell out of the American people] because the challenges we face are real. [Really, they are.]

We need unity of purpose [to get rid of naysayers]. No more worn-out dogmas [like "no aggressive war"] that for far too long have strangled our politics. [Some are actually trying to stop the Mideast War.]

But we have a noble idea: [spread Freedom...oops] that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness [as we define it].

[One Nation, one People, and one President] are greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. We must begin again the work of remaking America [in the image and likeness of the Best People.]

We’ll create new jobs and lay a new foundation for growth [by paying rich people first]. The stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. [This has been called elsewhere "Gleichschaltung."]

The Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine [but we'll draw some parallels], drafted a charter to assure the rule of law [and of course their undisturbed possession of their wealth].

The justness of our cause [is so obvious it can't even be discussed]…

We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people [as split as that infinitive]. and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan, [as mixed as that metaphor].

With old friends [Israel] and former foes [Russia], we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, [of course we don't admit Israel has any nukes] and roll back the specter of a warming planet [because you know how dangerous those rolling specters are.]

We will not apologize for our way of life [even though it's fucking nuts], nor will we waver in its defense. [You do remember the Bush Doctrine, Ms. Palin?]

And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you [i.e., no one induces terror or slaughters innocents like us.]

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. [Look how we respected those thousands of dead and wounded Gazans.]

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West [How could they do THAT?!]:

Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.  [Pay no attention to Gaza, or a million dead in Iraq; but don't plan any Afghan wedding parties.]

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent [Hey, what happened to the shoe-thrower?], know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist [and cross your palm with a little something from Gen. Petraeus].

As we consider the road that unfolds before us [actually, I'm having trouble re-folding the Road Map], we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains [in spite of what the people who live there might think].

They have something to tell us today ["Bring us home!"], just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. ["That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase...."]

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty [exactly whose liberty are they guarding in the Mideast? ExxonMobil's?], but because they embody the spirit of service;  [of course, if they don't, we'll force them to enlist because there are no jobs...]

[Several paragraphs of absolute bilge and balderdash here, ending with a demand for] a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world [which will be enforced in reverse order].

This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. [And you're hearing it from The One.]

This is … why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. ["Luo, I am your FAAATHER...."]

When the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: “the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.” ["I can feel your Paine."]

With eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of Freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. [Freedom Lives! or is that Frodo? or Fredo?...]

The Digested Read, Digested:

We’re going to keep killing people, and that’s OK.

C. G. ESTABROOK is a retired visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the host of “News from Neptune, the TV Edition,” on Urbana Public Television and on the website newsfromneptune.com; he can be contacted at carl@newsfromneptune.com